Made with me in mind. So this is about a party of four in the old West, travelling quite a distance to rescue captives from savage cave dwellers who are more animal than people. Now I thought I had already had seen the best Western of the year in Slow West; it’s not like this is a genre that generates a ton of films these days, so when I see a good one, I tend to be content with it. I didn’t really have any high hopes for Bone Tomahawk, as it just got unceremoniously swept under the VOD carpet. With that expectation set, this film thoroughly impressed me throughout.
And it’s not just because this has Matthew Fox from Lost in it (but it doesn’t hurt).
If you are a fan of the Western genre, you can’t walk into this expecting something traditional, because it’s not. This is very much a Western Horror film, but it may take you a while to realize it; while they do hint at it the entire time, it doesn’t cross into full blown horror until the finale. It sets the tone aptly, starting with a man getting his throat slit in the opening shot, but for the majority of this, it’s a slow burn Western, and one that keeps you going with clever turns of dialogue. It’s a solid, mostly traditional Western… and then you get to “the scene”. If somebody sells you on a movie, and then says “oh, just wait for ‘the scene'”, you should probably heed their warning because chances are they are talking about this or Irreversible. “The Scene” in Bone Tomahawk is one of the most insane things I’ve seen on film; it’s convincing, it’s effective, and it quite literally made me gag. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil what “it” is, I will let you find out about it on your own.
If you’re not sure if you’ve gotten to “the scene” yet, you haven’t. You will know it when you see it, I promise.
If you’re a fan of the Western and the Horror genres, than this is totally made for you. It’s always good to see Kurt Russell in a Western (and also in any genre), and I really want to go back and watch Tombstone, because it has been far too long. I love all of these actors in their respective parts, and Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins all turn in good work. It has all of the proper decor of a Western with a serious grisly horror edge, and I love all the tough guy macho dialogue; there’s a simple exchange of dialogue towards the beginning regarding how much it costs for the pianist to play songs, and that is the exact point that I was won over by this. I understand why this didn’t really get a theatrical release, as the market for this is so niche, but if you happen to be a part of that niche, you need to see this.
Bone Tomahawk (2015) ****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2015? See for yourself here.